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Appetizers

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Baked jalapeño pimento cheese dip. To mark the Super Bowl each year, I like to prepare dishes that reflect each team.

Baked jalapeño pimento cheese dip

This year’s players are from Colorado and North Carolina, so I pondered making Denver omelets, ham biscuits, or pulled pork sandwiches for the game, but none of those really called out to me. Since it's also the fiftieth anniversary of the Super Bowl, for inspiration I looked towards the past. First, I called my grandma and asked her if she remembered the first Super Bowl. “If the Cowboys weren’t playing then I probably didn’t watch it,” she said with a laugh.

So I studied Texas newspapers and cookbooks from the late 1960s to see what was considered appropriate party food at that time. Chile con queso was already a popular snack, as were nachos. One dish, however, kept appearing in my research—pimento cheese. To steer the pimento cheese even more to the Tex-Mex side, I swapped in Colby-Jack cheese for the usual cheddar. The pimento cheese tasted fine as it was and could easily be served cold. Baked jalapeño pimento cheese dip. To mark the Super Bowl each year, I like to prepare dishes that reflect each team.

Baked jalapeño pimento cheese dip

This year’s players are from Colorado and North Carolina, so I pondered making Denver omelets, ham biscuits, or pulled pork sandwiches for the game, but none of those really called out to me. Since it's also the fiftieth anniversary of the Super Bowl, for inspiration I looked towards the past. First, I called my grandma and asked her if she remembered the first Super Bowl. “If the Cowboys weren’t playing then I probably didn’t watch it,” she said with a laugh. So I studied Texas newspapers and cookbooks from the late 1960s to see what was considered appropriate party food at that time. Chile con queso was already a popular snack, as were nachos. One dish, however, kept appearing in my research—pimento cheese. To steer the pimento cheese even more to the Tex-Mex side, I swapped in Colby-Jack cheese for the usual cheddar. The pimento cheese tasted fine as it was and could easily be served cold.

Chipotle cranberry sausage balls. Behold the sausage ball.

Chipotle cranberry sausage balls

It’s not the prettiest treat on the appetizer table but it’s certainly one of the more popular. Indeed, I dare anyone to stop eating after popping one of these savory morsels into their mouth. Nope, if you’ve had one sausage ball then I’m going to assume that you’ve had at least two and perhaps even three. They go down easy and invite you to try at least one more. For those of you not familiar with the sausage ball, if you are looking at the photo above in all its ugly glory, you may be thinking that I’ve lost my mind. If you grew up in Texas or the South, then chances are you spent some time making sausage balls with a loved one as a kid. Jalapeño bean dip. When I was a kid, my friends and I would sometimes ride our bikes to the neighborhood convenience store for a treat.

Jalapeño bean dip

They would grab slushy beverages and candy, but I’d always get a pack of corn chips and a can of bean dip. We’d then head over to the creek and sit on the bank eating our purchases. Baked Stuffed Jalapeños Recipe. Are you a risk taker?

Baked Stuffed Jalapeños Recipe

I think one has to be a bit adventurous to eat jalapeños. You never know if biting into one is going to yield that wonderful flavor and kick that is the basis for so much of Southwestern food, or if that one little bite will pack such a fiery punch that you’ll be running around the room mouth agape and tears in your eyes, begging for something to cool it all down.

Jalapeno Popper Cups Recipe. Chile con queso. If I share a secret with you, do you promise not to laugh?

chile con queso

I like Velveeta. I know, I know—that stuff isn’t even a proper dairy product. Instead it’s a cheese food that can sit on the shelf (no refrigeration necessary) for years on end. But in Texas we have a special place in our hearts for Velveeta, especially when it’s melted with a can of Rotel. We call that concoction chile con queso, or just queso for short.

Chile con queso, which translates to peppers with cheese, is pronounced “kay-so.” I decided to start my queso quest by doing a bit of research on the history of chile con queso. Crispy dogs with bacon-jalapeño dipping sauce. “How you feel about crispy dogs?”

Crispy dogs with bacon-jalapeño dipping sauce

Asked a friend from San Antonio. We were discussing regional variations of hot dogs, with my favorite being the bacon-wrapped Mexican hot dogs I enjoy at the Fiesta market by my mom’s house in Houston. His, however, was the aforementioned crispy dog, which is a cheese-stuffed hot dog wrapped in a corn tortilla and then fried. Armadillo eggs recipe. Bacon-jalapeño cheese ball. While I was home for Thanksgiving, I found in my grandma’s cabinet a North Texas community cookbook from the 1970s.

Bacon-jalapeño cheese ball

It was a fairly typical cookbook, with chapters on appetizers, soups, main courses and desserts in the traditional order that you’d eat them. But attached to the end was a final chapter that focused on only one thing: cheese. The placement struck me as strange. Why was it the last chapter of the book?